Instagrammers Boosting Aid for Typhoon Victims With ‘Unselfies’


Instagram may be home to a wealth of aesthetic and legal offenses, but it can also be a tool for promoting our better instincts, as a recent movement involving relief for victims of typhoon Haiyan attests to.

The movement is based on a new meme dubbed the “unselfie.” The idea is that instead of taking yet another picture of yourself, you obscure most or all of your face with something that displays the URL for the main UNICEF or Red Cross site to send aid to typhoon victims in the Philippines.

In short: Forget the usual narcissism for a minute and help out.


The trend began in the Philippines but has quickly spread beyond, with over 1,600 images (almost all of them clear on the concept!) turning up when you do a search for the unselfie hashtag on Webstagram, and that’s not taking into account the thousands more who have joined the movement on Twitter.

Nicholas Bordas, a European ad exec who helped popularize the unselfie trend via his freakishly large LinkedIn network, noted that social media has become a major information outlet for typhoon survivors to connect with the rest of the world. And it’s bad karma to eat up bandwidth with stuff that won’t help them.

Of course, the unselfie movement is about spreading the word about where one might donate, not necessarily donating yourself (a great way for those with limited resources to help out). If, however, you’re able to do more and would like to donate money to the relief effort, the primary two avenues available are The Red Cross and UNICEF. Just follow the corresponding links.

(via Mashable via Imaging Resource)

  • Rob Elliott

    Did any of them donate money?

  • niko

    Send your donations to transparent organizations like MSF and NAFCON instead

  • long balls

    it’s still a selfie. my god what is wrong with this generation?

  • Antonio Carrasco

    Of course not! But they sure did feel good about themselves for a minute or two!

  • Antonio Carrasco

    no hope for the human race… google instagram funeral selfies and prepare to be depressed for the day

  • greenarcher02

    Judgmental, I see.

  • jtreyes

    question is, did YOU donate money?

  • Pete Ferling

    I remember my parents saying similar things about my generation. I have five teens, and this is how these kids relate and deal with issues today.

    The article mentioned that it started in Philippines, so have an open mind and a little respect that they’re trying in their own way.

  • Michele

    This generation has to learn that “raising awareness” (or likes on FB) for something that’s in the news already on a daily basis doesn’t help – giving a dollar or two helps (gosh, that’s less than half of you starbucks coffee…)

  • Jonathan Maniago

    “And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray
    standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by
    others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full.”

    Hey, look at me! I’m trying to do something good! C’mon, pat me on the head!

  • David Vaughn

    That’s beside the point. He was just pointing out that the Instagrammers probably felt good about themselves, even though they haven’t really done anything to make measurable difference. It’s called the “1 like = 10 prays, 1 share = 1000 prays” effect. Maybe they did donate money. I don’t know. But the fact that we’re glorifying the shallowness of this kind of support is what people seem to get the angriest about, myself included.

  • AC

    I did, to a couple of orgs. I also volunteered, and called for help for a private initiative. See, when things like that typhoon happen, some people actually try to do what they can to help with whatever means they have. It’s kinda sad when people like to think negatively about other people’s effort.

    One of the anonymous instagrammers.

  • AC

    Sad to see all the negatrons on here. Oh, well. I hope they helped, and did something like what they are preaching.

  • Rob Elliott

    Good for you, it’s a good thing to do.. but I’m fairly sure that you are an exception not the norm.